Carlisle History

A living history of Carlisle, PA

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Carlisle In The 1980s

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At one point, “…you couldn’t get a cup of coffee or The New York Times, nor a bagel in town.” This quote by Professor Susan Rose is a good example of how, at one point, Carlisle was in need of revitalization. Soon after, the community answered the call. In 1981, the Downtown Carlisle Association was formed. It is a “community based, non-profit organization that works to preserve Carlisle’s rich historical heritage by combating deterioration of the Downtown and to keep the Downtown economically viable and attractive.” [1] It is the oldest, continuously running Main Street program in the state of Pennsylvania, using strategic partnerships, training, education, and advocacy to both revive and maintain a positive and thriving quality of life in Downtown Carlisle. Many events that they coordinate in the downtown area highlight many of the shops, offices and restaurants. [2]

downtown-carlisle2.jpgEven almost a decade later, some of these ideas are still practiced. This is exemplified by the hiring of a retail consultant, Ms. Margaret “Midge” McCauley. In a talk given by Ms. McCauley, she talked about how the local shops needed not only more attractive storefronts to attract customers, but they also a mix of merchandises to make the overall area more appealing.[3]

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[1] Downtown Carlisle Association,
“Retail Therapy for Carlisle,” Dickinson College Extra Features, 26 Sept 2006